The only smoke in the air at this year’s 37th annual Labor Day Festival in Jamestown Sunday was generated from a barbecue chicken pit. That’s because the use of tobacco and related products is now prohibited in all city of Jamestown parks and property.

Back in March 2016, the city council voted 6 to 1 in favor of the smoke-free amendment. 

Judging by the Labor Day celebration, the smoke-free policy is a welcomed and a long-awaited decision. Jamestown mayor, Samuel Teresi is the biggest fan.IMG_2134

“This is an issue near and dear to my heart,” said Teresi. “My mom was a smoker and we lost her too young. I want healthier futures for the next generation of Jamestown citizens.”

Teresi worked the Jamestown Babe Ruth World Series tent, offering passers-by fried dough, pizza, Italian sausage and cold drinks. With little leaguers clad in brightly-colored uniforms by his side, he noted that the smoke-free policy also sends a positive example to kids and shows them that smoking is not the norm for their generation.

Arts and crafts vendors, the Jamestown Community College (JCC) Jazz band members, and the Jamestown High School marching band members all sang the same tune of smoke-free happiness. Band members, who sold an array of baked goods to raise funds for playing in the Macy’s Day Parade in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, summed up that frosted brownies and cinnamon buns sell (and taste) a lot better without secondhand smoke bombarding Bergman Park.

Our community engagement manager in Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany (CCA), Ken Dahlgren, obviously celebrated a professional victory at the festival. But the ban is a personal victory as well. Because for the first time, he can attend and enjoy his community’s biggest celebration without fearing an asthma attack.

IMG_2144 (2)“I support the ban because it improves public health, of course,” said Dahlgren. “But I’m also happy my wife and I can be here today at a smoke-free event. The amount of secondhand smoke in previous years made me physically ill.”

Now we celebrate the labors that will lead to better health. Thanks and congrats to Mayor Teresi, the Jamestown city council, the parks’ department and all those Jamestownians who work so hard to promote a healthy, safe and positive community.